Foreign Policy

Another Premature "Mission Accomplished" Moment in Somalia?


The official line at the top of this longish Reuters report from the freshly Ethiopean-invaded Somalia is that Ethiopean troops will "stay 'for a few weeks' while the government pacifies the chaotic nation." However, reading on you find Somalian Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi insisting "The Ethiopians will leave when they clear terrorists and pacify Somalia. It will be … weeks and months, not more."

As the story continues, we learn that Somalians are still taking potshots at their Ethiopean liberators, and that although "The government has told Mogadishu residents to hand over their weapons by Thursday or be forcibly disarmed… one [collection center] seen by Reuters, not a single gun had been handed in. Traders said gun prices had gone up and some were still buying weapons."

And don't miss the ominous last sentence of the story, horror movie hints of a grim sequel:

U.S. warships were patrolling off Somalia to stop SICC leaders or foreign militant supporters escaping, diplomats said.

How long can the U.S. ships stay offshore? Stay tuned.

NEXT: Straight Talk Express, Baby!

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  1. Dear Ethiopia,

    Leave now. March everyone back in time for a nice parade in Addis Ababba on Sunday. Do not try to pacify the country. Do not try to prop up a local government. You kicked some ass, now just go.

    Trust me on this.



  2. And U.S. ships can stay offshore as long as they please.

    Tuna don’t plant IEDs, and submariners don’t man checkpoints.

  3. And I really would be interested in those ships tried to come onshore.

  4. I’m with joe…keep it quick and clean

  5. The Ethiopeans are not trying to establish a democracy and start a new wave of Western thinking in Africa. Rebel groups and insurgencies have been defeatable for the thousands of years of military history before nation building was invented. If they keep their objectives limited and hold no qualms about fighting on the level of their enemies they have a high probability of being succesful.

  6. How long can the U.S. ships stay offshore?

    Almost indefinitely. Nuclear power, supply ships, and all that. Hell, Admiral Nelson kept his ships on patrol during the Napoleonic wars for months on end.

    Thanks for asking, though.

  7. Wonder how many Ethiopian soldiers will be tried for abusing Somali prisoners . . .

  8. According to the LA Times, gun prices are dropping, not rising:

    As a result, prices for weapons at Mogadishu’s gun market plummeted in recent days as gun owners rushed to sell their weapons rather than give them away to the government. AK-47 assault rifles dropped from $300 to $120.

    Somehow,I don’t think this is a good time in Mogadishu to liquidate the family arsenal.

  9. Give away the guns…..
    Bullets? $$$PROFIT$$$

  10. The real story is how poor the reporting has been on this whole thing. There’s lots of talk about a regional war, the Islamists controling Somalia, yadda, yadda, yadda. Look, there are 4 countries on the Horn of Africa. Djibouti is too small (750,000 people) to attack anyone and unlikely to be attacked since the US has a base there. Eritrea and Ethiopia hate each other and have more or less been waging war for decades now. Sure, there’s peace but it’s barely there. Somalia, well, how much longer will we insist on calling it a country. The north, a main different tribe from the south (and, IIRC, the part that was an Italian colony at one point) was never controled by Islamists and is relatively peaceful. They just don’t have what we’d recognize as a legit central gov’t. The south was controled largely by the Islamists but that didn’t mean much. They and others don’t have the means to wage war. The Islamists are so weak / poor that the kind of help that dirt poor Eritrea’s help is a big boost for them. (Eritrea = Africa’s North Korea). If I can figure this out with a bit of reading hear and there can reporters who are supposed to do this for a living not figure this out? Why did they buy into the “oh no, Ethiopia’s going to do something and it’ll get messy” thing. The place is a mess as it is. If we’re worried about it, get the UN to enforce the Eritrea / Ethiopia border, let northern Somalia do what’s natural for it, be it’s own country, and get Ethiopia to fix it’s economy.

  11. Tuna don’t plant IEDs, and submariners don’t man checkpoints.

    joe, you’re fighting the last war. The terrorists have exploding sharks, you know.

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